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Tennessee Titans look for help around QB Marcus Mariota

By The Sports Xchange   |   Feb. 27, 2016 at 1:26 AM
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INDIANAPOLIS -- The biggest question surrounding the Tennessee Titans is what they will do with the first overall pick in the draft on April 28.

Even before the NFL Scouting Combine this week in Indianapolis, Titans general manager Jon Robinson has stated that he wants to be as vague as possible in revealing his plans for what to do with the No. 1 overall pick, even though there are no teams to try and trick in order to get the player they want. Robinson also will be listening to offers to see what is out there.

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Robinson made it clear again at the Combine that one of his primary missions is to find ways to protect and upgrade the talent around quarterback Marcus Mariota, who missed four games due to injury last season as a rookie. Some but not all of that will revolve around the offensive line, and there was plenty of speculation around the Combine that Ole Miss left tackle Laremy Tunsil might be a good fit both talent-wise and need-wise for Tennessee in this draft.

"The quarterback is the most important position and it's imperative that you keep him upright and able to throw the football," Robinson said.

Of course, both Robinson and head coach Mike Mularkey emphasized that protecting Mariota and helping him to improve in year two is about much more than just plugging in a new offensive lineman or two, though the possibility of Tunsil is certainly a legitimate option for Tennessee to consider.

"Marcus will be a better quarterback if our run game gets better," Mularkey said. "This offense is built around being balanced and if the run game is not functioning the way we need it to function, it's going to affect everything. It's going to affect our passing game and affect our defense and affect our team."

Robinson emphasized improvement all over as well in his quest to rebuild the Titans around Mariota with the first pick and in free agency.

"When he has the football, we have to protect him. It takes all 11 guys," Robinson said. "It's the running backs being able to run the football to get us in manageable situations. It's the running backs being able to step up in pass protecting. It's the offensive line playing together as a group, all five of those guys. There can't be any one weak link up there, because other teams are going to expose it."

--Mularkey said that defensive end Derrick Morgan would be questionable for the team's organized team activities after undergoing surgery for a torn labrum in his left shoulder late last season.

"Morgan may be a question mark," Mularkey said. "He may be limited a little bit, just being smart with him in June. We don't have to see if he can do it. We know he can do it."

Also, second-year linebacker Yannik Cudjoe-Virgil may not be ready for the offseason work either as he is rehabbing from a torn patella tendon in his knee, an injury sustained in practice.

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